Friday, 23 July 2021 17:24

Auto Body Shop to Fix Up Former Foundry

Written by Reggie Ellis, The Sun-Gazette


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A local business owner is fixing up a vacant property which once made Exeter, CA, a household name in the world.

On July 15, the Exeter Planning Commission approved a permit allowing an auto repair shop to take over a portion of the former Waterman Foundry. City Planner Greg Collins said Calvin Cox, owner of A1 Auto Paint and Body Repair in Tulare, will be converting the old foundry office into a 4,900-square foot office, located at 515 S. G St., and restrooms for a new auto repair shop location.


“This is the first substantial applicant for that property,” Collins said.


Cox plans to do both auto body repair and paint out of the Exeter location. Collins said the primary housing for the business will be the old office building of the former foundry, but the business also plans to construct a second structure, a 640-square foot spray booth, where cars will be painted.


The permit initially came before the planning commission on June 17 but the item was continued after the commissioners requested proof there was no soil contamination. The site was cleared of any soil contamination leftover from the former foundry in a 1994 letter to Waterman President Don Appling by Cal EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.


The letter was presented to the commission prior to its approval on a 4-0 vote, as commissioner Joe Stewart was absent.


The company was founded in Exeter in 1912 by W.A. Waterman, and initially manufactured agricultural irrigation equipment for Central Valley farms out of a small brick building near City Hall, before moving to its foundry at F and Maple streets.


In 1953, the company expanded into water control infrastructure products, including large and complex cast iron sluice gates, fabricated slide gates and radial gates. Waterman also has operations in...

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